Since my last post on Metallics, this area of my practice has developed considerably.

Back in the summer of 2020, the technique was new and so I was experimenting with making and display methods. Now, my Metallics have developed into a discrete art form whilst retaining their initial, intended role as chine collé elements within traditional collagraph prints.

In the last few days, I have been working on some pieces intended as the subject of an upcoming magazine article on my practice. The project has galvanised me to trying out some different ways of treating the faux metal leaf, and working on some ideas for post-print embellishments.

Above: extended heating of the paper produces interesting effects

In applying the faux metal leaf to the paper, I deliberately left some areas of the paper free of the leaf. After seeing the effect of burning only the edges of the paper in previous experiments, I wanted to see what the effect would be on larger areas of the paper. The paint stripper gun seems to be ideal for watching this process develop, as it takes a little time to darken the paper. This provides ample opportunity to decide on the desired level of burning. In the image above, a hole can be seen burning towards the edge of the paper. It continued burning away at the surrounding area for some time! It looked really interesting, so allowed it to continue. The burned areas created intriguing colour and texture contrasts with the faux metal leaf.

Above: closeup of surface after heat treatment

As I mentioned previously, the copper leaf in particular reacts most strongly to heat, producing the most intense and vivid changes in colour. The most interesting aspect of the process is that these changes are unpredictable, in terms of the extent of the area affected, the intensity of the colour and the patina left on the surface. Further, it was noticeable how some of the most interesting textures were created in areas where the metal leaf was not completely stuck down.

Above: recent final works

One interesting outcome was the combination of the metal leaf with chine collé elements in the form of printed paper pieces. These added components – particularly in black on white paper – show the way towards further experiments in collage, both within the print process or as post-print embellishments.